• Report: #1175963
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Wed, September 10, 2014
  • Updated: Wed, September 10, 2014

  • Reported By: Sipio — philadelphia Pennsylvania
Internet USA

realself.com realself, real self, ask a doctor Beware! Phony review site Realself.com Internet

*General Comment: Thank you

*Author of original report: This is a realself.com ad placed in Seattle Craigslist

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In my personal experience and opinion: "RealSelf.com" is "Real Dangerous" and "Real Deceptive".

Upton Sinclair said, "It is hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Plastic surgeons depend upon plastic surgery to sustain their lavish lifestyles. I have read that the average salary of a plastic surgeon is about $250,000 a year. According to the Puget Sound business journal, RealSelf.com made 2.4 million dollars in revenue in 2011. Plastic surgeons are salespeople. RealSelf is an online advertisement for plastic surgery and plastic surgeons. Knowing / admitting that liposuction poses unreasonable risk for people would be a very inconvenient truth for them all.

I attempted to place a negative review for a plastic surgeon who I paid $$9000.00. Realself.com would not print my review . It seems that they just want to print positive reviews. I am not sure if Doctors pay the site or not.

My Doctor used REAL SELF reviews to make him look GREAT & Trust Me-- he is from Cherry Hill New Jersey-- email me & I will inform you  This Site should be SUED for Mis Informing People..This is all the Consumer has!! RealSelf.com IS A JOKE..I bet when somebody is actually harmed BAD LIKE ME they will get sued!!

RealSelf makes money with a subscription ad product for the doctors, not unlike the Zillow model for realtors. If you hold a four or five-star rating and are in good standing with the community, you can buy a presence in search results.

Started in 2006 by former Expedia exec Tom Seery, RealSelf has flown under the radar in tech circles. But the site boasts 3 million unique visitors a month and is doubling its audience year-over-year. Having raised just under $2 million in angel funding from early Microsofter and man-about-computing Mike Slade, Expedia and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, and Orbitz CEO Barney Harford, RealSelf has been profitable for over a year.

The idea is fairly simple — so simple that it’s a bit of a surprise no one else has done it. It follows one of a handful of classic startup business models that Seery learned at Expedia: Find a market that thrives on its lack of transparency and make it transparent.

RealSelf boosts a "private messaging" feature, but the messages are not private, they are monitored.

It’s also not possible to tell if some of the glowing reviews of "the perfect surgery", and "the perfect result" are reviews paid for by the doctors. The RealSelf.com dynamic of having private sector women (and men) encourage each other to get risky plastic surgery before their own results are experienced is a dangerous group mentality. In my experience, RealSelf generally refers to this as being "supportive".

One of the most active, informative discussions on the RealSelf liposuction forum was "closed to future comments" because it was "not in the spirit of RealSelf." The elephant in the room is that the "spirit of RealSelf" means support FOR plastic surgery -- not support for the truth ABOUT patients results and scientific studies.


This site obviously allows Doctors to post phoney reviews. A Doctor on RealSelf posted 71 reviews in a matter of a few days. Most Doctors usually only get a handful of online reviews. You could tell these "glowing" reviews were all posted by the same person. Nothing about the actual surgery and healing, but mostly how "wonderful" he and his staff were.
My dear friend and I went to the Dr in question, for a consult,, and she had a facelift. It is a year later, and she looks worse than before the lift, and she STILL has not healed! One year later and her incisions are still breaking open. No feeling in her face, and her eyes were cut too short and now they water constantly. Yet, this Dr posts these "glowing" reviews in a short span of time.
We all know no Dr gets that many reviews in such a short time span. And, they all sound alike, with no reference to who the patient is. They are obviously phoney reviews, most likely posted by his staff, and basically are all, similar.
My friend complained to RealSelf about this, and suddenly all of this Drs reviews disappeared, except for maybe 5.

I would imagine they have been inundated with complaints.
It is a very sad situation when a site such as this, lets Drs post anything they want, causing many unsuspecting patients to go to an incompetent plastic surgeon, thanks to phoney reviews.
When my friend tried to post her horrible experience with this PS, they told her she could not post it because it was uncomplimentary to the Dr!? Hello? I thought this was a place for real and honest reviews. Apparently not!


Real Self is that it is used as a marketing tool for doctors. So while doctors provide Real Self with the appearance of credibility (which it really has none because there are no physical examinations and all question/answer posts are purely conjecture); Real Self gives doctors the ability to promote themselves through the sheer number of questions they answer. In other words, the more questions a doctor answers, the higher up on the scale they are according to Real Self. This is not the 'star' rating but a Real Self rating (e.g. "TOP" means the doctor has answered a lot of questions; it does not mean that doctor is a top-rated doctor in ability or any other way).

I think this is quite confusing; in fact misleading. Real Self also monitors all interactions on their site, including so-called private messages. That means that they tell you in their terms of use that all content is theirs and that you cannot expect any privacy. IF you post an email to another RealSelf member, you have to realize it is subject to them viewing it.

Real Self has a rule against posting medical advice or links. Or soliciting. Many people on RS post advice and links. However it seems that if you post advice against procedures or links to sites that are also against procedures, one will get a 'warning'. But if one posts links or advice promoting procedures, this will be ignored. It is unclear as to whether it is "okay" with them if one reaches out to another user and says: check out this website! Or would you like to email me, here is my email. Or I think you should NOT get that procedure. And so on.

In the end, one has to remember that 1) RealSelf is a business venture that relies on the cosmetic industry for profit. 2) Doctors rely on RealSelf to promote their businesses. 3) Member reviews are not updated regularly and provide for poor scientific evidence and do not really present real long term results of a procedure. 4) The information on RealSelf is poorly organized and so real information (especially long term results) is not easily available. Most people drop off the site as time goes on and so don't post these results which are more important than immediate results, especially on procedures such a liposuction. 5) users/members often give advice that is not medically appropriate and only based on their own experience which by nature cannot apply to others. 6) Doctor answers (in the Q&A section) have to be suspect since they rely on the site for business and they cannot examine nor take history from the person asking the question. 7) If someone posts a negative review of a procedure, that person is usually told by other members as well as "community managers" (employed by RealSelf) that "things will get better" "just be patient, you'll see" etc. Real problems are rarely addressed. 8) If a member asks a physician about a negative outcome that person is often told it is their own fault (especially in procedures such as liposuction) or bad luck, which ignores scientific evidence. Rarely is the doctor who performed the procedure called out.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/10/2014 07:40 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/realselfcom/internet/realselfcom-realself-real-self-ask-a-doctor-beware-phony-review-site-realselfcom-int-1175963. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 General Comment

Thank you

AUTHOR: coyotesun - (USA)

Thank you for this report on RS. You used mostly my exact words but I don't mind because as long as the word gets spread around I am glad. It is hard for the general public to really understand what is going on here with RS and people need to get that the business model is based on PROFIT for RS (and subsequently the 'doctors' who participate on the site). The profit motive gets in the way of trusting any advice or procedure. Of course doctors will make a living off their work; it's the excess profit they make by performing bad procedures and not really having the ability to do so in the first place. RS facilitates this in a most onerous way. If you dig a little into how it functions you will see that the 'members' of the site are maniuplated to behave a certain way (a way that promotes plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures regardless of the bad outcomes many face and complain about on the site). In fact RS instituted a 'Real Friend' program where certain members who behave in the correct way are given a 'badge' on the site as well as free beauty samples etc. The Real Friends then insert themselves into conversations about procedures offering inane, 'polly-anna,'  non-medical commentary to those who may have quesitons, concerns or post-procedure issues, problems or disasters. 

Because of the way this is done (behind the scenes and under the guise of 'providing a service' to the consumer) many do not understand why RS is so harmful. In fact if one does a Google search for any procedure, chances are the first page of entries will lead right to the RS website. Once on the website, a person can find a trove of Q&A with doctors, patient stories, phony "Real Friends,' non-medical advice and so on. This leads to a confirmation bias (one finds what one wants to find) and not a real source of unbiased information which is necessary in order to make any good medical type decision. The atomosphere is one of cosmetics and not medicine and surgery. The problem is, it IS medicine and surgery. Liposuction is a procedure widely promoted on the site yet it is one of the most lethal of all cosmetic surgeries.

Doctors answering questions about it do not have any training in metabolics in humans (or lab animals for that matter), weight loss, or even fat distribution. They just parrot 'talking points' as if they were Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail. This is because they do not KNOW. It takes a little effort to uncover the truth about these things, but most people want to trust a doctor. But remember surgeons are not the same as other types of doctors. Especially cosmetic surgeons. They do not know the effects of their proecdures on the inner body of the individual. And if something bad happens, well...too bad! Most likely an individual will have no recompense at all. Even if there is major disfigurement, the laws and unavailability of legal representation work against the individual and for the cosmetic surgeon profession. 

People will say (if you have a problem) well...caveat emptor (Buyer Beware). It's hard to be-ware if one has always trusted doctors and the law. And this is how doctors get away with bad treatments ~ the victim is very often, if not always the one blamed for any problem. Imagine if you drove on a bridge that was built wrong, and it collapsed and you were injured. And imagine if people said: well you should have known this could happen; it is your fault that you drove on that bridge. This is what people deal with when they have bad outcomes due to cosmetic procedures/surgery. 

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#2 Author of original report

This is a realself.com ad placed in Seattle Craigslist

AUTHOR: Sipio - ()

Director of Marketing - RealSelf.com (Seattle) As Director of Marketing, you will be responsible for the development, execution and optimization of strategic initiatives to acquire and retain doctor clients and industry partners. This career-defining role has responsibility over B2B marketing programs that directly impact company profitability and market share. Importantly, you will have the mandate to drive acquisition, loyalty marketing, social media and trade conference planning and tactics within well-established B2B sales channels. Key Responsibilities: ● Drive strategy and execution for online and offline client acquisition, engagement and retention marketing programs to achieve Doctor Community and Business Development goals, including growing revenue and new customer relationships ● Create, execute and optimize campaigns and content marketing initiatives to increase thought leadership, brand awareness, client demand and conversion for the company's B2B marketing platform. ● Gather, analyze and leverage client, industry and web usage data to identify market trends and opportunities which support sales and content marketing strategies ● Leverage product development pipeline and lead lifecycle to enhance RealSelf positioning and generate interest with content, email, conferences and site visits. ● Work directly with sales and business development teams on campaign training and communication efforts for consistency in messaging and branding ● Work with internal and external cross-functional teams, product, designers, content curators, database management, legal and more ● Develop and maintain budgets, including monthly financial reconciliations Qualifications and Qualities: ● Proven track record in developing and executing strategic marketing campaigns across multi-media platforms (including but not limited to display advertising, social, SEO, TV, mobile, video, referral programs, affiliate programs and landing page/registration page optimization) preferably in the small business space ● Believes that content marketing as well as mobile and native advertising are trends for SMBs to follow to garner consumer attention and influence their decisions ● Ability to innovate and apply new consumer/industry trends in a scalable marketing plan ● Strong time and project management skills, and proven track record of driving hands-on results in a small, dynamic environment ● Excellent verbal, written and presentation skills; ability to influence and communicate clearly and effectively at a senior level and to large groups ● Passion for marketing and today's rapidly evolving social media world ● 7+ years marketing leadership experience with focus on B2B sales ● Bachelor's degree required, MBA preferred To apply for this position, please use the following link: realself.theresumator.com/apply/ahsR5k/Director-Of-Marketing-B2B.html?source=CRAG


All they want is MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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